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Donaldson: “No doubt the people of the Republic will continue to shun those who seek to make excuses for cold-blooded murder”

Fri 6 December 2013, 3:06pm

Pretty hard hitting op ed from Jeffrey Donaldson in the Irish Times today

The IRA and their cheerleaders like to style themselves as an army, yet it is worth recording again the circumstances of the deaths of these two brave men. Bob Buchanan attempted to drive the car they were travelling in out of danger but the vehicle got stuck in a ditch. He was shot in the driver’s seat.

Mr Breen got out of the car, put his hands in the air and attempted to surrender. He was shot to death. Soldiers in an army don’t shoot people trying to surrender. It is also worthy of note that the IRA failed to co-operate fully with the tribunal. They withheld vital information and lied about the collusion.

So much for calls by Gerry Adams and other republicans for a truth process.

On police accountability going forward…

Levels of police accountability and scrutiny throughout these islands have increased. The PSNI, for example, is one of the most heavily scrutinised police forces in the world. This is why the conclusion that a culture of loyalty being more valued than honesty still exists within the Garda should worry all citizens in the Republic. In the context of the murder of innocent people, all who are interested in finding out the truth should be concerned to see this culture examined and its out-workings explored fully. We need to know if there was further such collusion and why the leadership of the Garda Síochána failed to address it when they had evidence presented to them by their own officers. Never before has Juvenal’s old maxim, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – who guards the guards? – seemed more appropriate.

On political expediency…

One of the reasons why Margaret Thatcher signed up to the Anglo Irish Agreement was to tighten security along the Border. Judge Smithwick has since confirmed that political expediency meant it was decided to dismiss the connection between the IRA and the Garda in the murders of these two senior RUC officers. Authorities on both sides of the Border may have had a vested interest in denying the collusion of Garda officers with the IRA. For the then UK government it would have meant conceding that the agreement had failed in its stated aim, while for the Dublin government it would have meant admitting collusion with a criminal terrorist organisation. The consequence of this expediency was to deny the Breen and Buchanan families the truth for a quarter of a century.

On where we are now…

I welcome the fact that senior Ministers in the Republic of Ireland, as well as the Garda Commissioner have been clear in accepting the findings of Judge Smithwick and expressed their abhorrence at the circumstances that led to the murder of these two RUC officers. As for the dismissive comments of Gerry Adams, they stand as further testimony to the hypocrisy and callousness of the republican movement towards its victims. I have no doubt that the vast majority of officers in the Garda Síochána and the people of the Republic will continue to shun those who supported or those who seek to make excuses for the actions of an illegal organisation that engaged in cold-blooded murder.

We must ensure that this dark chapter in our shared history is never repeated.

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Comments (125)

  1. Alias (profile) says:

    “…their protection in the North was inexplicably pulled out at the last minute without them knowing.”

    It is odd that army patrols that were in the area all week were removed from the area an hour or so before. But given that the two RUC officers were there to investigate Slab Murphy, your own logic would lead you to conclude that Slab Murphy enjoys extraordinary state protection. Not that you’d want it to lead you there…

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  2. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “Who mentioned Sinn Fein? It was a reference to MU (the six counties must be an island)’s mythical terror apologists on Slugger. Keep up wee man!”

    They – what you call “terror apologists” are Sinn Féin surely? The SDLP do not most certainly fall into that category.

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  3. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    sean tracey,

    Nitpicking over the term “mainland” now. Do such original and inspiring ideas just come to you naturally ?

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  4. latcheeco (profile) says:

    Alias,
    Nah it was bigger than that and there would have been easier ways to screw up an investigation- ask Stevens. More likely loose ends/dirty laundry.

    Charles,
    Thems MU(the six counties are an island)’s words not mine. Stop seeing Sinners behind every bush. All republicans aren’t Sinners. When you’re around longer you’ll learn that.

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  5. Tir Chonaill Gael (profile) says:

    “It is odd that army patrols that were in the area all week were removed from the area an hour or so before.”

    Just like your “six bullets in the back of the head” thesis, your facts are wrong. Again.

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  6. DC (profile) says:

    http://i44.tinypic.com/2jevby9.jpg

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  7. Alias (profile) says:

    Tir Chonaill Gael, try again, kiddo:

    “It is noteworthy, and indeed tragic, that there was a British Army presence in the area from 13th March 1989 to 20th March 1989 and that this seems to have been withdrawn at 11am on the morning of 20th March 1989, just hours before Chief Superintendent Breen and Superintendent Buchanan were ambushed.” – Judge Peter Smithwick

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  8. Tir Chonaill Gael (profile) says:

    You think “an hour or so” is the same as almost five hours? That’s odd.

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  9. Alias (profile) says:

    You’re not too good at reading English, are you?

    “It is odd that army patrols that were in the area all week were removed from the area an hour or so before. But given that the two RUC officers were there to investigate Slab Murphy, your own logic would lead you to conclude that Slab Murphy enjoys extraordinary state protection. Not that you’d want it to lead you there…” – Alias

    The PIRA gang’s operation – which involved “between 20 and 70 people” – began at between 11.30am and 12 noon.

    “I am more than satisfied… to conclude that significant signals traffic relating to the IRA operation to ambush the two RUC officers, commenced at approximately 11.30am to 12.00 noon on 20th March 1989.” – Judge Peter Smithwick

    The clearing of the army patrol allowed “between 20 and 70 people” to go about their business and they were cleared “an hour or so” before.

    I’m not saying that the security services protected Slab Murphy – who has never spent a day on his life in prison – by enabling him to murder two RUC officers who had been instructed by Tom King to put an end to his organised crime activities in the border area but he is certainly one lucky boy.

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  10. Tir Chonaill Gael (profile) says:

    Calm down dear.

    The army allegedly withdrew at 11am.
    The attack took place at 3.40pm.

    Also, one bullet to the head is less than six.

    It’s ok to get things wrong from time to time.

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  11. Alias (profile) says:

    “It’s ok to get things wrong from time to time.”

    It is, sweekcheeks, such as projecting words into a sentence that aren’t there. ;)

    Now, let’s try it again, shall we?

    ““It is odd that army patrols that were in the area all week were removed from the area an hour or so before…

    (a) a monkey falls dead from a pear tree.

    (b) the murder.

    (c) “between 20 and 70 people” went about the business of murdering two RUC officers who were instructed by Tom King to put an end to Slab Murphy’s organised crime activities

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  12. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    TCG

    “one bullet to the head is less than six.”

    I am not quite sure what sort of point you are making here but it is of no comfort to the victims that there was one bullet not six.

    I am not sure where you are coming from in all of this – whether you are a SF supporter who is trying to excuse or reduce the wrong that was done – but one bullet is quite enough to kill and it is very tragic indeed that this wrong murder took place.

    The victims should come first.

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  13. gendjinn (profile) says:

    babyface finlayson,

    The Weir affidavit is evidence. As it is a statement against interest by an eye witness account given as sworn testimony it has weight greater than that of the discredited sources in Smithwick’s report. I refer you to John O’Neil’s excellant blog detailing the problems with the report.

    For more information on RUC Special Branch collusion I recommend you start by googling RUC Special Branch collusion Mt Vernon just for starters.

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  14. gendjinn (profile) says:

    DC,

    I know but does every thread need to be hijacked on here pointing this out when regardless the points are worthy of merit and consideration all the same.

    Amusing & rich coming from mr every-thread-is-an-opportunity-to-moan-about-the-BCC-flag-decision :)

    You are one of the hypocritical unionists under discussion, avoiding the MRF thread like the plague. Can’t handle that your government ran a terrorist squad that ran around murdering civilians?

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  15. Alias (profile) says:

    Charles, he isn’t making a point: he is simply trying to obscure a message that he finds uncomfortable by pointing to a factual inaccuracy from another thread that doesn’t actually alter the content of that message.

    Mr Breen was shot in the back of his head at close range while lying on the ground. One shot was fired but it was inaccurately claimed that six shots were fired. Whether it is one shot or six does not alter the fact that Mr Breen was murdered in cold blood when he was out of the car, not shot in the car at his murderers claimed. The intent of the shot was to murder.

    You can see him being just as devious by inventing the claim that the above statement refers to Mr Breen’s murder rather than to the operation that led to his murder.

    As Judge Smithwick noted, “between 20 and 70″ – including lookouts, etc – were involved in the operation. It would not have been possible for this number of people to move freely if the army patrols were not removed an hour or so before. Hence Judge Smithwick commented:

    “It is noteworthy, and indeed tragic, that there was a British Army presence in the area from 13th March 1989 to 20th March 1989 and that this seems to have been withdrawn at 11am on the morning of 20th March 1989, just hours before Chief Superintendent Breen and Superintendent Buchanan were ambushed.” – Judge Peter Smithwick

    It is “tragic” because it enabled the murders to occur.

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  16. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    gendjinn
    “The Weir affidavit is evidence”
    It is the evidence of one man, which you choose to believe because it suits your worldview.
    And it may well be true, I don’t know. Nor do you.
    The point is you are repeating it as proven fact I don’t know how many times I need to point out that Smithwick was very careful in his choice of words about his conclusions.
    So again which parts of his conclusions do you think are not warranted by the evidence?

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  17. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    I would have thought that Donaldson’s comment on shooting those surrendering was surely linked to the numerous pathetic grovelling apologies from the British government wrt NI, and more topically, the recent case on Afghanistan where a British soldier, Alexander Blackman, is being disgracefully jailed for murder. Donaldson obviously agrees (or consoles himself to) that this is a just thing, and that rules of war are enforceable. I do not, however, agree as war is what results as a last resort and when rules break down with those trying to impose them deluding themselves (and also find this Blackman case to be dubious as there is still a threat when an armed enemy feigns surrender).

    The biggest disgrace in Northern Ireland being that the British government refused to officially declare war here, with only a period in the early 70s where they really let the soldiers’ do their job without their hands tied behind their backs. Numerous theories around this including, the keep-the-bombs-out-of-England mindset and not wanting to pay the large war-time pensions it would ensue.

    As for “collusion” in NI, with a backdrop of dithering British governments meaning people taking things into their own hands becomes inevitable, what would Nationalists/Republicans rather have? No collusion and Loyalist Paramilitaries killing randomly out of frustration, or “collusion” occurring and them gaining intelligence data for targeting actual known members and aiders to the non-uniformed IRA? “Collusion” in this case could be argued for the greater good of defeating the aggressor and their offensive Republican rebellion or “struggle” (disgracefully called the “Troubles” by some); not exactly something that can be said for Garda colluding with the very driving force behind the violence.

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  18. aye YeMa, you are one of those dangerously deluded people who believes that wearing a uniform excludes one from being a terrorist and making excuses for state forces colluding with killers however the cicumstances is just too sick to comprehend .
    Providing information leading to a killing can never be justified under any circumstances and making pathetic excuses such as government inaction just doesnt wash.

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  19. gendjinn (profile) says:

    babyface finlayson,

    It is the evidence of one man

    And?

    which you choose to believe because it suits your worldview.

    It is consistent with the myriad of other evidence related to RUC Special Branch collusion with loyalist terrorists. But you seem to find a real need to dismiss this.

    And it may well be true, I don’t know. Nor do you.

    Except it’s consistent and correlates with the plethora of other collusion evidence we have regarding RUC SB. Dismiss, diminish and wish away is the standard unionist response. However, the British government has confirmed/admitted collusion and plenty has been demonstrated over the years. How did that research on Mt Vernon go for you?

    The point is you are repeating it as proven fact I don’t know how many times I need to point out that Smithwick was very careful in his choice of words about his conclusions.

    Smithwick dismissed every wtiness and allegation and ended up concluding that despite that there was evidence of person or persons unknown engaged in unspecified acts of collusion.

    So again which parts of his conclusions do you think are not warranted by the evidence?

    And again I refer you to John O’Neils blog post detailing this. Again.

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  20. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    gendjinn
    “But you seem to find a real need to dismiss this.”
    When did I dismiss it? I said it may well be true actually.
    You keep referring to Mount Vernon as though that somehow proves Breen was guilty. If persons A B and C are guilty of something does that prove that person D is guilty?
    But I cannot seem to get through to you the difference between drawing a conclusion and a verified fact, which is all I tried to point out.
    By the way if you provide a link to John O’neill’s blog I will try and get a look at it.

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  21. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    gendjinn
    Dion’t worry about link for John O’Neill. I see it now. Will have a wee read at it.

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  22. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “No doubt the people of the Republic will continue to shun those who seek to make excuses for cold-blooded murder”

    “The boys a fool” people of the Republic have been voting for cold-blooded murderers and their apologists for 100 years + They will continue to do so – note the double standards flying on the occassion of a return of the serve

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  23. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    Daniel Jacks, the only thing that I mentioned about uniforms was the difficulty to target an enemy that doesn’t wear one, nothing more nothing less.

    Hate to break the news to you, but during a dirty war (which was what we had forced upon us in all but name, whether we wanted an “armed struggle” or not (as most of us of course rightly did not) ) simplistic black and white morals/ideals break down and people get killed. There is a concept known as the lesser evil, which I shouldn’t have to explain to you unless you are in remedial education or ludicrously naive. If the result is one which is direct detriment to the aggressor driving the violence, the IRA, then I doubt a majority of our population give two hoots about “collusion” in NI if they are honest with themselves. May I suggest you request a copy of a Homeland DVD box-set for Christmas to snap you out of your alternative reality?

    I think it’s also about time more Ulster unionists stopped blindly going along with the BS narrative spelt out by an England-first bribe-a-Provo British policy which publicly refuses to acknowledge war, and instead should actively try and expose British policy for what it was and is in reality. By not doing so Provo Sinn Fein supporting drones continue with this doublespeak whereby they glorify their terror offensive, but then insist that it is right that everyone else just stands by idly with their hands tied behind their backs and dies (and if that is not enough Gerry will then accuse you of being wreckless for getting in the way of their guns and bombs).

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  24. paulG (profile) says:

    Ayeyerma,

    Republicans would also have preferred if the British had declared themeselves to be at war. They would have taken far more casualties but gained far more political support from abroad. It probably would have been over very quickly with a political deal following soon after.

    Without the secret undeclared, spook sponsored, undercover war wouldn’t be destined to argue the toss over the various webs of lies we’ve all been caught up in.

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  25. tacapall (profile) says:

    “I shouldn’t have to explain to you unless you are in remedial education or ludicrously naive. If the result is one which is direct detriment to the aggressor driving the violence, the IRA, then I doubt a majority of our population give two hoots about “collusion” in NI if they are honest with themselves.”

    The planter vs native paradox.

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